Traditionally, policy makers have framed climate inaction as an economic decision. This type of argument is constantly being challenged – even without climate-based regulations, General Motors is planning to close 5 domestic factories and lay off over 15 thousand workers. In addition to this, the U.S. coal industry is in decline due to technological advances. This poses the question: Why are we putting off climate action AND keeping the American economy on a failing, obsolete path.

Rather than continuing to have this age-old argument, incoming lawmakers have decided to tackle not only climate change, but also economic prosperity with what people are calling the Green New Deal. Taking inspiration from FDR’s New Deal, this stimulus package will focus on creating jobs that rebuild America’s infrastructure in a way that allows us to switch to 100% renewable energy, incentivize the growth of green businesses, and provide all Americans with a livable wage. Lead by New York’s new representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Green New Deal is being called one of the most ambitious pieces of climate regulation being discussed in Congress.

The Green New Deal is being discussed via livestream in a National Town Hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Congresswoman-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and 350.org founder and author Bill McKibben among many other distinguished speakers.

TO WATCH ONLINE: Go to www.facebook.com/senatorsanders at 4 PM PCT on Monday, December 3rd.

Here are a few topics to look out for:

  • Infrastructure investments that prioritize strong public transit systems
  • Tough regulations on “alternative” energies like nuclear and hydraulic fracturing
  • Programs to assist low-income folks during the economic transition (like Oakland’s CARE or SmartSolar program)
  • Measures to make sure vulnerable people aren’t displaced or otherwise harmed during infrastructure policies

The fact that this kind of economic overhaul is in mainstream politics feels promising. Just six months ago it seemed like climate policy would be entirely ignored during the Trump Administration. It’s exciting to see lawmakers start to represent our economic and environmental interests and concerns.

-Casey Loosbrock

(Photo by Data for Progress)